Category Archives: parents

5 Year Youth Ministry Contract: Church Members (4 of 5)

This is post #4 of the 5 Year Youth Ministry Contract. If you have not already read the first three posts, you’ll want to read them before reading this one. Read the introduction first, followed by my thoughts on the youth minister difference and then my thoughts on the church leadership & staff difference.

In this post, we will look at the difference a five-year commitment would make for the church membership.

The Church Membership Difference

It can be difficult for church members to be quick to fully welcome a new youth minister on staff. When the church has a history of having multiple ministers with short stays, it becomes an automatic disadvantage for any new youth minister entering into ministry at this church. Most members assume the new youth minister will only stay long enough to find another ministry, like past youth ministers have done. I think a five year youth minister contract would offer many benefits for these members.

Knowing someone is going to be around for a few years allows you start the relationship with a little more trust than normal. Most members will not question the youth minister’s motives or actions as often as they otherwise would. Being able to have this higher level of trust for the youth minister will allow the members to support and encourage the efforts and changes being made by the youth ministry team.

I believe the willingness to volunteer within the youth ministry would increase. From my experience, I have seen that some people are apprehensive to volunteer to work in an area where they do not know the leader well or where they feel the leadership might change often. This apprehension would be countered with the five year contract. Think about the difference it would make to have a stronger group of volunteers at the beginning of your ministry. Not only would the youth ministry benefit and grow, but the congregation gets a huge benefit: more members using their gifts and doing ministry.

Finally, I think this five year contract would give the members a sense of relief. Most members do not know what expectations/requirements are put on the youth minister by the church leadership. This contract would give them the reassurance that a certain level of ministry professionalism will be kept in the youth ministry. The members will still not completely understand what all is entailed in the youth ministry, but this will be a good start to help them understand that youth ministry is more than just glorified babysitting.

Are there negatives for the church members?

Since the youth minister will be around for a few years, there might be some members who will not work hard at getting to know him. The assumption might be that there is plenty of time to get to know the new youth minister, so why put effort into it now. Someone else might think that the only reason the youth minister spends time with the students is because its in the contract. And there might be someone who decides their help is not needed within the youth ministry, because the youth minister is going to be here for a few years.

What other differences do you think a five year commitment would make for the church members?
Do you think the church members would benefit from having a youth minister with a five year commitment to a local ministry?

Posts in this series:
1. The Introduction
2. The Youth Minister Difference
3. The Church Leadership/Staff Difference
4. The Church Membership Difference
5. The Students Difference


Book Review: Read and Share Toddler Bible

(This review is for anyone with little kids at home or someone who works with the children’s ministry at church. You might want to look into this Bible as a good resource for having in the nursery or for gifts to parents of toddlers.)

Colorful illustrations, interactive activities and an animated DVD are all a part of the new Read and Share Toddler Bible. This Bible is designed with the toddler in mind. Each Bible story is short and includes three things: an easy-to-understand retelling of the story, colorful illustrations and an activity for parents to do with their child(ren). As a parent, one other feature I really found helpful was the Scripture references at the beginning of each story. This feature will allow parents to read the story and discover more details on their own.

The Read and Share Toddler Bible is a good first Bible for your little ones. Since there are forty Bible stories covered, your toddler will only hit some of the more well-known stories. The bright colors and easy-to-read stories will draw your toddler in, creating a great opportunity to teach about God’s Word. As your child grows, you might want to allow them to read the stories on their own.

The DVD that comes with the Bible contains fourteen short animated stories. These are stories that are included in the Bible, though not every Bible story has an animated version. The videos and fun to watch and can be used to help your toddler follow along in the Bible.

Youth Ministry Budgeting: 5 Things a budget cannot buy

There are many things youth ministries buy with the money in their budgets: curriculum, food, convention costs, hotel rooms, food, prizes, books, etc…. (yes, I am aware that I typed “food” twice) As a youth minister, I try to determine the needs for the year as I try to figure out what budget we’ll need. But there are always unexpected expenses that come up throughout the year for which you cannot budget. Beyond these unexpected expenses, there are other parts of youth ministry which you cannot budget for either – well, really they are things that no budget can buy.

5 Things a Youth Minister Can’t Buy with a Budget…

1. High quality volunteers
2. Respect from parents
3. Relationships with students
4. Those “aha” moments where things start clicking
5. Eternal change

What else would you add to this list?

Youth Ministry Budgeting: Tips for Saving Money (5b of 5)

(This is part 2 of the final post in a 5 part series on youth ministry budgeting. You can see the earlier posts here: 1 – stewardship. 2 – categories part a and part b. 3 – process. 4 – to buy or not to buy. 5 – tips on saving money part 1)

No youth ministry is immune to the economic hardship facing our country. And in order to be better stewards of our resources (and possibly stay afloat), we all need to learn to save a few bucks. Here is part 2 of my thoughts on how to save money. To see the first 5 tips, go here.

6. Involve more adults
Instead of doing things like ordering pizza or catering all of your meals, think about asking people to help cook and serve the food. It doesn’t have to be food, it can be decorating for a special event, setting up, manning the tables.

This tip was shared by Sara Eden , so I’ll just let her share some thoughts about it.

“The other thing we’ve done is moved away from the church providing dinner at youth group each week. Now what we do is ask people to sign up to provide dinner. The really cool thing is that it’s giving people who don’t feel led toward the traditional ‘youth ministry volunteer’ role an opportunity to serve the ministry and get to know the students (and allow the students to get to know them). The people who cook for us are invited/encouraged to stay and eat dinner with us and then students help with clean up. It’s another step toward healthy inter-generational relations. God took something that was done as an economic measure and turned it into another awesome opportunity for ministry. He’s so good like that!”

7. Donations
We all need items for the youth ministry: chairs, couches, lighting, sound equipment, electronics, transportation. Instead of going out and buying them, ask people to donate them. (Now, when you do this be prepared to get people’s junk. So either you need to be very specific, simply say “no thanks,” or just throw it away later.)

This is something a friend of mine, Bill Nance, said he has been able to do in his ministry, which has helped since he doesn’t have a big budget and really needs to stretch it.

8. Think “in house.”
When you are planning an event, the two biggest costs are always the speaker and the band. Next time you are planning an event, think about using someone from within your ministry to do the speaking or worship (concert). If that will not work, try to find someone local to cut down on travel costs.

9. Use Open Source software
Instead of paying full price for your software – you might want to look into some of the open source alternatives. Most of them are just as good as the expensive versions, and they are free.

More information about open source software will be in another post.

10. Stop spending money
This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But there are more than a few youth ministries that simply refuse to stop buying stuff. You do not need that new Wii or flat screen TV. You may not really need new carpet right now, it could wait a year or two longer.

The best way to save money in your youth ministry is to simply spend your money wisely. Think twice before making purchases. Hold off on major purchases as long as you can.

Six more ideas on stretching your budget.

A dad has many jobs through the years

As a dad, you have to wear many hats. And over the years, those hats change. Here is a quick look at how a dad’s many jobs change over the course of being a dad (of at least what I imagine)…

When you have a toddler:
– toy repairman
– toy car mechanic
– financial planner
– story teller
– cartoon expert
– monster fighter
– comforter
– superman

When you have elementary age:
– math expert
– homework coach
– chauffeur
– wrestling opponent
– friend adviser
– financial adviser
– ball team coach

When you have a teenager:
– chauffeur
– relationship expert
– money tree
– rule enforcer
– college/career adviser
– car mechanic
– listener

Even though a dad’s duties with his children changes over the years, I think there are a few things that never change.
1. Always love your wife. Model it to your children.
2. Show your children grace. It will teach them about God’s grace.
3. Love, love, love.
4. Always keep the communication lines open. Listen more than you talk.
5. Pray every day for your children.

What would you add to the list of jobs a dad has over the years?

Technology & Your Teen: A parent seminar

I’m teaching a seminar on technology tonight. Its a seminar for any and all parents of teenagers in the congregation. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m hoping enough parents are concerned about the subject and want to learn more. I’ve found a lot of good material and really want to get it into some parents’ hands.

If you get a chance, pray for it. thanks.

Here’s the promo I used for it. (there is no sound)

life. love. pain.

This is a modified version of an article I wrote for the church’s weekly Epistle back in January after my grandma passed away. I thought I’d share it with you all…

Life. Love. Pain. Three words that carry with them a lot of meaning. Meaning that changes over the years or through certain circumstances. Regardless of what they mean to you, these words are connected to memories and stir emotions.

Life. When I was younger, it meant getting to play anything I wanted to at any time. It has meant playing cars on the fireplace with my best friend. It has meant playing wiffle ball with the other kids on the street. More recently, it has meant playing cars and putting together puzzles with my two boys. It has also meant purposefully making time to do things with Amy.

Love. I like this word. It has been connected with Snoopy, Star Wars, and Full House. In high school, it was connected with anything from Third Day to golf. While I was dating Amy, love took on a new meaning (and became deeper). Today, my definition of love is still changing thanks to being married for 6 1/2 years and having two wonderful sons.

Pain. I don’t like this word. I didn’t like it when it was associated with falling down and scraping my knee. I didn’t like it when it was associated with being picked last for the kickball game. I didn’t like pain when it meant I was made fun of by other students. I didn’t like it when it meant being far away from my family. I didn’t like it when I sat at the breakfast table and got a call telling me my grandma had passed away.

Though I felt a lot of pain with my grandma’s death, I know my grandpa experienced a deeper and more intense pain. I know this because I know how much he loved my grandma. They had spent their life together (65 years of marriage) and loved each other very deeply. My grandpa lost part of who he was when my grandma died. That is a pain I do not understand. But, I do understand that my grandpa would not give up the deep love to avoid the intense pain he is feeling.

This pain/love connection reminds me of another strong love which leads to intense pain: God’s love for you. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus knew the pain would come, but he chose to experience it because of his deep love for you. His love led to his pain.

Do you love others, even knowing you will be hurt? John says in 1 John 4:11, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Starting today, love one another. Your life will be richer because of it.

Reflections on: funerals

This past week, I attended two funerals in as many days. (there was another one that I was unable to attend this week, too) Before these two, the last funeral I was at was for my grandma a few months ago. With these funerals fresh in my mind, I have a few reflections I thought I would share.

Some reflections on funerals:

  1. Words are difficult to come by.
  2. You can tell a lot about a person’s life at their funeral.
  3. The loss of a loved one equals deep pain.
  4. Even when you know your loved one is in a better place (Heaven), your joy for them is mixed with the pain of missing them.
  5. Both funerals this week used Pr. 31 – I don’t usually hear that passage at a funeral.
  6. More comfort comes from God’s Words than from anything a person can say.
  7. Just being there is enough. One thing I experienced at my grandma’s funeral was the power of presence (God’s and those you love)
  8. I don’t remember much, if anything, of the message spoken at my grandma’s funeral. And I’m ok with that.
  9. Funerals, and the loss of a loved one, help remind us of the important things in life (God, family, friends)
  10. As much as a funeral represents an end of a person’s life on earth; it is much more a beginning of a life eternal.

Discussion Starter: School suspends student for mohawk

An Ohio school suspends student for mohawk, after two warnings. Its a short article, but it says a lot about how some parents parent.

Listen to this quote from the end of the article:

Rather than request a hearing to appeal the suspension, Barile (the mom) said she’ll enroll him at another school. Changing the hairstyle is not an option, she said.

“It’s something that he really likes,” Barile said. “When people hear Mohawk, they think it’s long, it’s spiked, it’s crazy looking, and it’s really not.”

“Changing the hairstyle is not an option.” Strong words. Is she taking it too far? Did the school go too far? I wonder what the boy thinks about all of this.

Use this to start discussion on respecting authority, rules, conforming, being different, facing a problem, running away from problems, outer appearance

Teens Lie to their parents

Here is an article from the New Yorker on how teens learn to lie to their parents. Here is the first paragraph:

Kids lie early, often, and for all sorts of reasons—to avoid punishment, to bond with friends, to gain a sense of control. But now there’s a singular theory for one way this habit develops: They are just copying their parents.

Its an interesting article, well worth the time to read. Kind of makes you think about the example you are setting for the students in the youth ministry, or it should.

(gracias a PlanetWisdom)